Stop! Don’t read any further if you are not seriously looking for a really good, effective but affordable e-commerce solution, a package that will let you relax while your sales are being taken care of by your Ecommerce website. This article will provide you an insight into the do’s and don’ts of selecting an ecommerce package suitable for you.
1) What not to look out for,
Most people who search for “affordable ecommerce solutions” will input “cheap ecommerce solutions” as their search phrase on yahoo/msn/google or any other search engine and end up with a lot of websites providing cheap e-commerce packages. But one should keep in mind that everything good comes at a price. Cheap website hosting providers will advertise their website as “cheap and easy”, but beyond the advertising lies the 99% failure rate of old-fashioned Web hosting. If you still want to trust a cheap e-commerce service provider please check their track record before you sign-up.
2) What to look out for,
It has been rightly said, “If we fail to plan we plan to fail”. This holds true with every project small or big. So lets chalk out what we will to decide which is the best e-commerce solution for your website. Take a pencil and paper and list these points:
1) Product and Customer: Keeping your product/products in mind think of what your customer will be looking for. Not and highlight the points that come to your mind. Do you have an international market for your product,
2) Payment Options: What payment options you will be required to provide the customer. There are many available like paypal, firepay, xoom etc
3) Shopping cart: Do you need one, It’s a necessity if you have more than one product if you have a single product then you might opt out of this feature.
4) Advertising and Promotion: How you are going to advertise and promote your website for attracting customers and increasing sales. There are a number of ways of doing this like banners, advertisements etc you will need to hole in on a few.
5) Your Budget: There are a lot of ecommerce solution providers available on the Internet but you should be having an idea of the $$ that you are ready to spend on them before you take the big leap as some of them have hidden costs. You may choose a package and then know that a few features that were not included cost you a lot when you buy them.
Depending on these points we can shortlist some basic features to look out for in our ecommerce solution service provider
1) Payment Options: What are the payment options available with the ecommerce service provider (ESP),
2) Shipping: For international trade this is a necessity. Is your ESP providing it to you,
3) Web design/Hosting: How would you like the over all design of your store, Is the layout provided by the ecommerce service provider easy to use and understand for the customer,
4) Features: What extra features will you be looking for in your ecommerce package, Will you be content with payment, security, tax and shipping solution only or do you require more, This will require a thorough review of at least a few ecommerce solution providers and what you really need.
If you are a corporate body you will need to bring all your departments together to get their ideas on sales/promotion/advertising etc. It will be a day’s hard work but the rewards will be substantial if proper planning is met with efficient execution.
These are a few different scenarios that you will find yourself in after you have listed all the points. Should you opt for: 1) A ready to use ecommerce package. 2) Rent a space/store in a network-based e-commerce solution. 3) Ask a web designing company to build you a website from scratch
Most of the e-commerce solution providers will have a basic scheme where you can add a product/category, delete a product/category, check the order status, calculate shipping cost deducting taxes if any, owner can see all the list of purchases, he can make the item shipped, out of stock, credit card denied, etc. For more info on this please check affordable ecommerce solutions.
Ready-to-use Ecommerce Package A ready-made package of ecommerce solution software like InterShop that will help you display your products and meet most of your needs. These ready-to-use packages have a lot of features available. But if you need something customized it will come at a price. Automated features for payment, shipping etc will cost you a few more dollars. This might look as the most affordable ecommerce solution available but the main problem with this kind of ecommerce packages is when your online business expands and you desire more customization. But if your requirements are met with the package features go ahead and buy it. This package is recommended as affordable ecommerce solution for companies that fall in mid-sized business category.
Rent a space/store in a network-based e-commerce solution These web based-solutions are quite inexpensive and provide a lot of features. You have to just customize your store by picking a theme (looks and settings). Being web based they are very fast. You don’t need to install any software, customize it and put in your product information. And you are ready to go e-shopping on your own store. If you think that this kind of ecommerce solution provider provides what you are looking for then go ahead and sign-up for it. The good part is that there is no installation involved so no complications.
If you feel that this package meets all your requirements then you should settle for this option. But you’ll surely want more in days to come. And will feel something is missing once a few months pass by. A store is recommended as affordable ecommerce solution for small or mid-sized business Ask a web designing company to build you a website from scratch If you run a large Enterprise and feel that it has outgrown the Ready-to-use ecommerce software package or smaller storefront services, you can get a unique customized website made from scratch according to your specifications.
It always good to develop once own ecommerce website as it the developers are always available for any updating or changes that you might decide to have later on. This scenario also leads us to two choices:
1) Hiring the same company to design and host your site.
2) Hosting with one and letting another company design your site.
Hiring the same ecommerce solution provider company to design and host your site. This option won’t let you be more flexible with the hosting platform and you might end up with a platform that the designing company finds the best. Do not forget to read user’s reviews about the hosting and the support provided before you sign-up with any design + hosting company. Some reviews may be fake so you should try and contact the customers personally if possible to know the company’s ecommerce hosting capacity and efficiency.
If you find that they have had previous issues related to hosting or updating with any customers get it clarified from a support personnel. Do study if they allow easy updating. Also find if it can be done on your own or you have to upload it through some respective personnel of hosting company. Hosting with one and letting another company design your site. Expect for a few ecommerce solution providers that provide both hosting and design most of them are found lacking in one of the skills or both. But if you are thinking of separate hosting and design then you will have to make sure that the designer should be aware of the hosting services which will be utilized and services rendered by them. When making a choice between designers take a look at the ecommerce websites they have made in the past and ask for references. Call the references or mail them and ask them their experience with the designer. While choosing a host be sure not to commit mistakes that you will repent later take the designer into consultation if you have already chosen one. These two options are recommended for big corporate companies.
How to decide which option is the right one for you,
Companies are generally categorized into three 1) Small Business 2) Mid-Sized Business 3) Corporate Business. If you can enlist your company in one of these categories then you have already found a solution in the recommendation provided at the bottom of each option. If you think that you are going to make it big on the Internet then you should opt for the third option. Though I would recommend getting a feel of the online business before you go for the bigger package.
Coming to an end of the article. The topic of ecommerce solution has such a wide scope that it is not possible for any article to cover it. Having read through this article you might have got a brief idea of how to choose a perfect ecommerce service provider (hosting and design) who fulfils all your requirements. If you need more information on affordable ecommerce solution providers please click here. Best of luck.